Fun is good.
- Dr. Seuss
- Dr. Seuss
It takes a certain type of person to love event marketing. You have to thrive on tight deadlines, chaos, ambiguity, and late nights. You have to have a family who can support your travel, your need to be connected at weird times and in weird places. You have to want to be a workaholic.
And it takes a certain type of company to invest in these kinds of people. I’m not talking about salaries or massages or even vacation time. I’m talking about offsites. And again, I don’t mean scavenger hunts or movies with the team. I mean real, meaningful time together with the team to talk, share, laugh, think, plan, and gear up for the future.
During my time as a manager of a team of 18, I made it a point to hold an offsite every quarter. Yes, it’s a day or two out of the office which is a huge challenge for most people. Yes, it cost $500 or so ($25/pp). But YES, it is worth it.
My formula for a successful offsite is simple:
- Spend a little money on an excellent facilitator; I hire two improv comedy instructors to lead us in creative thinking games and help get us through the day with levity and skill
- Plan problems that need to be solved
- Give groups time to solve the problems and present to the other groups
- Intersperse the right meaningful activities for some fun and to get everyone’s juices flowing
Feedback from these offsites has been tremendous! Not only do we get a few hours to get our heads out of email and thinking about the future, but we get to play. Remember the FISH! guys from Seattle? They totally had it right – making sure your team gets a chance to play together while actually solving real-life problems produces AMAZING results.
Try it sometime! And let me know if you need a GREAT facilitator. I know a couple. :-)